November 3, 2013

Bless His Heart ... And My Heart, Too

Daughter 1 had decided to fry chicken on her night to cook. More specifically, she was going to fry drumsticks because, aside from nuggets, there's really not much else to a chicken, right? And despite my mad grocery-list-making skillz, we had no oil in the house in which we could fry chicken. This meant that in the middle of the week, I had to go to Hellmart. (PS--I am using a photo from Walmart's Flickr Creative Commons' stream. I'm still calling it Hellmart, though.)

I dropped Daughter 1 off at home after school and headed back out to Hellmart in the middle of the afternoon. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, I spotted Mr. W coming from the store. I watched him for a while waiting for a primo spot to open up, and it was very clear that Mr. W couldn't find his car.

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Bless his heart. Our family used to attend church with Mr. W, who has just celebrated his 90-something-th birthday. He's a veteran pilot, whose late wife was also a member of the Air Force along side of him. When they finished their tours, they settled down, had children, and Mr. W continued flying commercially until his retirement. At that time Mr. and Mrs. W traveled with their trailer seeing the parts of our country they'd yet to see until Mrs. W's health warranted that they settle down. They settled in our small town about fifteen or so years ago.

Mr. W is a sweet, sweet man. He never remarried after his wife died, and he doted on our kiddos. My heart broke a little bit to see his fragile frame wandering aimlessly in the Hellmart parking lot. I pulled into my spot and decided to go find Mr. W's car first. I wasn't sure if he'd remember me, and I thought it'd be smarter to find his car and then lead him to it. I quickly found his white Ford, complete with his specialty plate on the front. Then I wandered the five aisles over to Mr. W to take him to his car.

I'm honestly not sure if he remembered me or not, but as I stated earlier, he's a very sweet man. When I approached him and told him I knew where his car was, he offered his arm to me as I led him to his car. He thanked me profusely. I assured him that I lost my car in the parking lot all the time. He got into his car and left.

With a lump in my throat, I silently prayed for two things: First, I wanted to be as independent as Mr. W when I was his age and second, I always wanted to be surrounded by people like me--helpful, beautiful, smart.

Then, I set out to find my own car. I walked up and down the aisles until I finally remembered that I was not in the RAV. I was in the truck. And then I walked up and down the aisles (again) until I found the truck. I smiled at the irony as I drove home.

"Guess who I saw," I called out to Daughter 1 when I walked through the door.

"Who?"

"Mr. W. Bless his heart. He had lost his car in the Hellmart parking lot."

"Aww," my sweet girl sighed. "Did you get the oil for my chicken?"

When I went back to Hellmart to get the oil, I made sure to notice what aisle I parked on. Bless my heart, too.

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